Since the debut of Bruno Mars' new track, "Locked Out Heaven," some critics have claimed it sounds remarkably similar to the music of English reggae/rock band the Police. Now, the 27-year-old musician is confirming that writing songs that resemble those of the classic group is something that he aspires to.
"Hell yeah! You try to write a Police song!" Mars said in an interview with MTV. "I grew up listening to The Police, I grew up performing in bars, singing Police songs ... I remember performing a song like 'Roxanne,' and you play those first couple of chords, and you hit that first note, and you watch the whole bar ignite. And as an artist, as a songwriter, it's like 'Man, I want to write a song that makes people's eyes explode the first chord!'"
Giving the track a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5, Rolling Stone picked up on the Police-esque vibe in "Locked Out of Heaven."
"The song is about unbridled passion, but as usual with Mars, the aesthetic is tidy and impeccable, pop songcraft polished to a high-gloss gleam: jittery Police-esque rock-reggae verses that erupt, amid thunder-boom synths, into a steamrolling four-on-the-floor chorus," wrote Rolling Stone's Jody Rosen.
The Los Angeles Times were also reminded of the Sting-fronted band, writing in their review of the track, "It's a lean, bouncy soul-rock cut that quickly mushrooms into a dramatic synth-pop epic -- think the Police (circa 'Ghost in the Machine') infiltrating the Human League."
Mars doesn't seem to be the least bit bothered by the continued comparisons, although he notes to MTV that he is only trying to sound like himself.
"I don't think it initially tried to sound like anybody else, but I picked up the guitar and just started playing [the song's opening chords]," the "Grenade" hitmaker said. "That's how it normally works; I'll pick up a guitar and I'll start humming a melody, and I started singing that, and I was up there in Sting-ville, in that register, so that's what you get ... I tend to listen to a lot of guys with higher registers — Sting being one of them, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder — because I've got a high voice."
Check out "Locked Out of Heaven" featured below, and watch out for Mars' new album, "Unorthodox Jukebox," dropping on Dec. 11.